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Stop Wasting Money on Sales Training

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Fri Feb 27 2015

Stop Wasting Money on Sales Training
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There’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that on the whole, sales training is not delivering results. The good news is that there is a solution that can make an enormous impact—and everybody wins. 

Much like contestants on the popular American game show Jeopardy!, we often find ourselves in search of questions to answers we already have. We must carefully select from important categories like Knowledge Transfer, Manager Engagement, Coaching Excellence, and Metrics & Measures to score points for the business. 

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Latest surveys show that the United States spent some $55 billion alone on sales training last year. Yet statistics from Forrester, IDC, and others remind us that one-third of our sales reps still don’t possess the knowledge or skills they need to drive buying decisions. If so, how do we know which ones they are? 

The act of training alone, without the context of continuing sales support or manager engagement, certainly won’t change the game. Perhaps this has you wondering: What are these sizeable investments of time and money really buying? As it turns out, says sales learning expert Mike Kunkle, the secret to creating a truly high-performance sales team lies in our ability to score points in not just one, but every category. 

Best-in-class organizations are taking a more holistic approach to improving sales performance that goes beyond event-based training to focus on critical aspects of knowledge reinforcement, skills transfer, and behavior change. Much of this is data-driven, and it’s working. 

Take coaching to mastery, for starters. Most managers agree that sales coaching is the Number 1 most important activity, based on its sales effectiveness impact. In fact, research by CSO Insights finds that companies with outstanding sales coaching skills have 10 percent higher revenue plan attainment than companies with average coaching skills. 

Clearly, the “size of the prize” is worth pursuing, but most companies still invest little time in coaching their coaches. When top sales performers are promoted to the role of manager without any direct sales supervisory experience, they discover there’s a big difference between being a great closer and being a great coach. More often than not, they don’t know where to begin. 

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By harnessing the current explosion of devices, mobile-first applications, and data analytics, managers are finding new ways to gather and analyze granular data on what sales reps really know. More importantly, they can make that data available, discernible, and actionable for sales managers in the form of targeted coaching actions. 

These insights are more readily available for managers in the form of dashboards they can use to pinpoint specific ways they can help the individuals on their teams to succeed, while maximizing their available time together. Many of these systems use training data to continuously analyze and present a real-time understanding of what the field knows and where coaching is needed most. 

So, if you’re feeling like you’ll take “Behavior Change” for $200, you might find the webcast, Stop Wasting Money on Sales Training, on Wednesday, March 4, very helpful. Mike Kunkle and I will provide insights on the most common reasons why sales training fails, the role of managers in motivating change, and the metrics that matter most in developing effective learning solutions. Register today.

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